This week at The Nation and TheNation.com, Contributing Writers Mark Ames and Mike Elk report that in the wake of Citizens United, on the eve of last November’s midterm election, Koch Industries sent an election mailer to its 50,000 employees advising them on whom to vote for and warning them about the dire consequences should they choose to vote otherwise.
Obtained exclusively by The Nation, the contents of the packet include a cover letter by President and COO Dave Robertson, a list of Koch-endorsed state and federal candidates, as well as a copy of their newsletter, Discovery. The newsletter offers a complete economic reinterpretation of history, alleging, among other things, that America experienced its most prosperous era in the 1920’s under President Coolidge and Harding. Also included is an editorial from the Washington Examiner titled, “What if all business were as dedicated to free markets as the Kochs.”
“Big Brothers: Thought Control at Koch,” is a clear look at an entirely new campaign of political education, indoctrination and intimidation at the workplace in a post-Citizens United era. Sources interviewed for the piece at Koch subsidiaries in Oregon and Washington claim that the company “encourages” them to read highly ideological literature and attend “special” seminars. Time cards are stamped with the “10 Guiding Principles of Koch Industries.”
Joining Democracy Now! this week, Ames and Elk explain tdhat by sending out the packet, Koch Inustries are politicizing the workplace and creating potential for political discrimination in employment. As The Nation noted earlier this year in the days after the case was decided, "[Citizens United] tips the balance…by making it possible for the nation’s most powerful economic interests to manipulate not just individual politicians and electoral contests but political discourse itself."
Also this week…
COMMEMORATING EARTH DAY
This year, Earth Day conveniently falls between two anniversaries: Wednesday was the one-year anniversary of the tragic Deepwater Horizon drilling accident which killed eleven workers and flooded the Gulf of Mexico with over 200 million tons of oil. And Monday is the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power plant explosion, which precipitated one of the worst nuclear disasters in history. Friday is an important moment for us to stop and reflect on the untold damage done to our natural environment by our insatiable appetite for energy, and how we, as global citizens, can help to mitigate our continued detrimental impact on our one-and-only habitat: The Earth.
The Nation has collected some of our strongest reporting from the past year on the environment, climate change and what can be done to protect our planet. Read that here. And be sure to watch this video of Environmental Correspondent Mark Heertsgard and NASA Climate Scientist James Hansen discuss how we can adapt and confront the damaging effects of climate change. Watch that here.
BLOG: Deepwater Horizon 2.0 and The Nuclear Option
George Zornick, The Nation’s new Washington DC reporter (see below), reminds us this week that in light of the one-year anniversary of the worst environmental disaster in US history, all the tough talk about regulating the industry has gone nowhere. Read his post, “Deepwater Horizon 2.0? Why It Can Happen Again.” Also this week, Christian Parenti is right to point out that while some environmentalists have embraced nuclear power as an alternative to fossil fuels, the economics just aren’t there. In “Nuclear Dead End: It’s the Economics, Stupid,” Parenti makes in an important point: every dollar, euro or RMB spent on nuclear power is one not spent on clean technology like wind, solar, hydro or tidal kinetics.
VIDEO: Revisiting Chernobyl’s Nuclear Dead Zone
On April 26, 1986, a reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukraine exploded, spreading nuclear fallout over Eastern Europe. In 2006, On The Earth Productions went to Chernobyl to see the sarcophagus that surrounds the plant and to speak to those affected by the disaster. Watch the video here. It’s a must see.
WELCOME: New DC Reporter
We’re pleased to welcome our new Washington DC based reporter, George Zornick. Prior to joining The Nation, George was Senior Reporter and Blogger for ThinkProgress.org. He worked as a researcher for Michael Moore’s SiCKO and as an Associate Producer on "The Media Project" on the Independent Film Channel. His work has been published in The Los Angeles Times, Media Matters, and The Buffalo News. Read his latest post, "GOP Struggles to Dent the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau."